It has become tradition for retiring police officers to make a final radio call as they return to the station from their last shift. The moment is often celebratory. Mixed with this celebration, though, can be the bittersweet understanding that life after the call will be different. That’s how the final call for Officer Duane Ledoux began.
Yet his call ended on a more emotional note. Officer Ledoux, from Southbridge, Massachusetts, made his final call on June 25th, but heard an unexpected voice on the other end of the radio.
Nate Ledoux flew all the way across the country to surprise his father Officer Duane Ledoux on his final day with the Southbridge Police Department.
Police Chief Shane Woodson began the call with Officer Ledoux and thanked him for his service.
“After more than 31 years of service to the town of Southbridge, Officer Duane Ledoux badge 1041 is retiring and giving his final code five,” Woodson said.
“I wish you the best of luck on your future endeavors. Congratulations brother.”
There was a moment of silence from the other end. Officer LeDoux was emotional. Happy, yes, but that happiness seemed mixed with gratitude and also the growing sense of closure.
“Too much to say,” he replied after the pause, “but thank you. To everyone in my family, everyone I’ve served with, and to my boys. Time to go home. Thank you.”
Then his son Nate took the radio. Nate was an unexpected guest at the retirement party and flown across the country to be there in time for the radio call.
“It is my sincere pleasure to announce that on this day, after 32.5 years of service, my father, Southbridge Police Officer Duane Ledoux, is retiring and has given his final code five,” Nate Ledoux says.
“It is my honor to acknowledge this code five, to set free a man who has sacrificed so much of his time for all of us, so that he may spend the rest of his life discovering new craft beer, exploring this beautiful country, and most importantly, chasing glory.”
“Dad, you are officially code five.”
“Love you,” Officer Ledoux responds.
“He did come home. He came home. I called that,” Ledoux said after, laughing.